Being the tender age of only 12 years old when Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone hit the big screen, both the films and the books has played quite a big part in my life. Being a muggle, I’ve always been fascination by all things witch craft and wizardry so when an owl landed at my desk in the studio (yeah, I wish) to invite my family and I to Linden Hall to experience their Harry Potter Package I just couldn’t contain my excitement. My son has recently shown a keen interest in Harry Potter so this experience couldn’t have came at a better time.
So, what is this Harry Potter experience and why Linden Hall you may ask? Macdonald Linden Hall Hotel is situated just outside of Alwnick, ideally situated ajar from the A1 so ideal for those muggles who drive or Wiazrds and Witches to navigate from their broomsticks. Set within 450 acres of private grounds, Linden Hall is the perfect setting for a spellbinding Harry Potter themed experience. The Harry Potter & Alnwick Castle Family Adventure is a one of a kind and unforgettable family break; perfect for the up and coming October half term holidays. The Harry Potter package includes an over night stay at Linden Hall, Harry Potter treats, breakfast and entry to Alnwick Castle.
We headed to Macdonald Linden Hall last Friday, straight from picking my little one up from school. Needless to say he was super excited and the 30-minute drive to the hotel was filled with many a, “Are we there yet, are we there yet?” The journey down the grand drive towards the hotel set the scene for our magical over night stay, lined with many old tree and looking over the vast beautiful scenery that surrounded the hotel, we knew we were in for an experience to remember.
Check it was smooth and fast, perfect when you have little ones in tow. We were shown to our room which was the Linden Suite and what a suite it was. We entered the suite to the Harry Potter soundtrack playing in the distance. We followed the music across the corridor and into one of the bedrooms. We were greeted with the Harry Potter box set on TV, our owls had already beaten us to the room and where waiting on the bed, there was a couple of Butter Beers on ice and some chocolate frogs – perfect for any muggle, witch or wizard.
Our Linden suite was fantastic. The corridor lead off to two separate rooms. One master bedroom with the comfiest king sized bed and a lounge area; which was made up with two sofa beds. Each room had its own bathroom, one with a shower and the other with a full sized bath and shower. Both bathrooms were well stocked with Elemis products, super fluffy robes and comfy slippers. The views from our room where breath taking, looking out over the main entrance and grounds. I could have sat in the window seat all day just watching the world go by.
My little one was in his element; whilst my Mam and I got ready he was sat in his Harry Potter cape, munching on chocolate frogs, sipping Butter Beer whilst watching Harry Potter in his room. He’s never sat so quiet and so still in a long time! We had a dinner reservation at 730 so just before hand we headed down the grand staircase and to The Dobson Restaurant… naturally the child was still dressed up as Harry Potter. The Dobson restaurant is set in one of the Manor House’s airy drawing rooms, rustling up award winning food with breathtaking views across the manicured lawn.
My son was handed a children’s menu, which was very well thought out with its smaller plates, bigger plates, sharing plates and sweet treats for those who eat all their food. My son opted for the Scotbeef mini burger, made from Scottish beef with chips. To be honest I was quite shocked at this as he’s never had a burger before but he certainly did tuck into it so it was certainly two thumbs up from him.
For our starters, I chose the Ham Hock Terrine with a pease pudding puree and piccalilli and my Mam went for the Classic Prawn Cocktail. Both dishes were great sizes, presented well and tasted amazing. Next up, we both chose the Farm Assured Pork Belly with caramelised apple, apple gel, crisp shallots and crushed potatoes. The belly pork was melt in the mouth and the crackling was crisped up perfectly, I could have ate it again it was that nice. For dessert I went for the Traditional Lemon Tart, for a change, but my Mam came up Top Trumps with her Farmhouse Cheese Plate, which looked unreal but couldn’t possibly try any as I was fit to burst. Stomach’s nicely full; we retired to our room, pjs on and watched more Harry Potter.
The following morning, we headed to The Dobson Restaurant for breakfast. We were greeted by the ever so friendly staff and taken to our table. Our drinks orders were taken straight away and by the time we had been to the continental breakfast counter our drinks and toast where ready and waiting for us back at the table.
The breakfast catered very well for all dietary requirements, being able to help yourself to the continental breakfast whilst ordering from the hot breakfast menu. My Mam and I ordered the full English breakfast and little legs ordered two sausages, whilst stuffing his face with pain au chocolat’s dunked in Nutella. Breakfast was served very swiftly and was just what we needed ahead of our busy day ahead. After breakfast we packed up our room, checked out and left for Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry
We live in Northumberland so, naturally, we’ve been to Alnwick Castle before but this time it felt different. It felt so much more magical and that was with the help of the Harry Potter Package at Linden Hall and it’s staff. Alnwick Castle is best known as the set of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in the first two Harry Potter films. There is so much to do at Alwnick Castle so the earlier you get there the better. We arrived just after 11am so we headed to the Artisan’s Courtyard to get our tickets for that all important broomstick training. Broomstick training is included with your ticket but be sure to get booked in as soon as you get to Alnwick Castle are places are on a first come first served basis. We opted for the 1:30pm slot which left us just over two hours to explore.
There are around 15 attractions within Alwnick Castle; which includes The Dragon Quest. Are you brave enough to enter the Dragon’s Lair? Join forces with Harry Hotspur and the Dragon Catcher to battle mystical forces, conquer challenging obstacles and come face to face with a terrifying dragon. Note: this indoor interactive course is not suitable for wheelchair users and small babies in pushchairs. Be sure to head to the state rooms and explore in awe at the lavish Italian Renaissance style interiors with their richly carved, painted and gilded ceilings inspired by those in the Vatican, St Peter and Castle St Angelo in Rome. Take a walk around the castle walls and take in the stunning scenery that surrounds the castle and learn about the history in which the castle is steeped in.
In a blink of a eye it was 130pm and time for Broomstick Training. Set in the very spot where Harry had his first flying lesson in the film production of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. We were joined to two of Alnwick Castle’s resident wizarding professors who where fantastic… even so that my son thought they were real wizards and was in complete awe, even though we’ve done this before. We had such a giggle and I absolutely loved just how in character my son got during the Broomstick Training. The Broomstick Training lasted for around 30 minutes; which went super fast. The two gentlemen who ran the course were wonderful… even if they did get me up in front of our group, which there was around 30 of us.
During our time at Alnwick Castle, we took part in some medieval crafts in the Artisans Courtyard; which included tile making and soap making which we got to take home. It was interesting to listening to how tiles and soap where made from years gone by, with the staff who ran these events staying in character and pretended to be from medieval times. They were so informative and are definitely worth doing when you get there.
Needless to say we made so many amazing memories during our stay at Linden Hall and visit of Alnwick Castle. Linden Hall has certainly conjured up an exclusive, spell binding Harry Potter themed experience just in time for the October Half Term holidays. The Harry Potter package was truly magical and it really did bring the film to life. It was just amazing seeing my son enjoy Harry Potter just like I did as a child. Linden Hall is the perfect base after a busy day exploring Northumberland, whether it’s cocktails in the bar or relaxing in the spa. I’ll certainly be back and next time I’ll be treating myself to a few treatments from the spa and relax by the pool, I might even bring the husband next time and stay for two nights instead of one as I’d love to explore and walk around the hotels grounds.
For more information on how to book The Harry Potter & Alnwick Castle Family Adventure, head to: www.macdonaldhotels.co.uk/offers/harry-potter-alnwick-castle-family-adventure.
Please note: this was a gifted stay. I was kindly invited along by Macdonald Hotels with my family to try out their Harry Potter Package. In exchange for social media posts before and during my stay we were given complimentary accommodation, dinner, breakfast, treats and entry to Alwnick Castle. Although this is an AD / gifted stay, all views and words are my own.